Pacific Grove Sophistication
Thursday, April 8, 2004
Interior designers Jeffrey Botwin and Philip Howlett have remodeled their Pacific Grove home to such a degree of clean beauty that it’s difficult not to gush.
The home, while classic PG beach house on the exterior, feels a lot like stepping inside a sleek San Francisco townhouse, a not surprising influence given that the two designers spend half of their time in the city.
“It’s also like an East Coast beach cottage,” says Howlett, who is from Connecticut and New York.
The sophisticated city touches blended with the unpretentious materials befitting a town by the sea are apparent immediately.
After turning a stainless steel lever on the glass doors leading in to the home’s front porch, visitors enter into a living room with traditional touches like a large bay window, plantation shutters, and wainscoting. But the traditional elements are turned up a notch: the wainscoting is “a noble height” as Jeff says, outfitted with wood detailing and painted white, and the remaining portion of the wall is covered in a softly patterned material known as grass cloth.
“Porch floors” are painted a taupe shade that complements the grass cloth, and the detailed wood ceiling is painted to match the wainscoting and shutters.
The dining room, which is demarcated by molding detail between the living room, shares a similar design to the living room, but the wood and stainless steel table is positioned underneath a beamed ceiling.
Behind the dining room, a guest bedroom and bath are outfitted with more elegant fixtures and design elements.
The kitchen, which separates the main part of the house from the upstairs master suite, has Sub-Zero refrigerated drawers, a Thermador range, and stainless steel countertop, all softened by white cabinetry and a small hexagon shaped tiles on the floor. Thin strips of white-painted wood line the walls and also retain the importance of the home’s original design elements.
Because the home appears smaller than it is, the upstairs master suite is an unexpected surprise. Originally an attic with a sharply sloping ceiling, the ceiling was raised to allow for a spacious master bedroom, home office, and master bathroom.
At the top of the stairs, a home office is created by built-in stainless steel desktops and orderly file systems.
The master bedroom, which has ocean views, retains part of the original attic design with a small reading nook with the original attic ceiling.
But it’s almost what the home doesn’t have that is as important as what it does have.
There simply is zero clutter, excess decoration, or poorly laid out space. Somehow without all the distractions and excess, the visitor can absorb the entire feeling of the home rather than getting stuck on particular rooms. And as a whole, the effect is both calming and stimulating: a place where one might get extremely creative without a cluttered space begging to be tidied up.
And the style has been recognized by the community: the home just won an award from the Pacific Grove Heritage Society.
“It’s a seamless kind of presentation,” says Realtor Maureen Mason. “You don’t have any discord here. It’s an organic kind of experience.”
Price: $850,000. 308 14th St., Pacific Grove. Contact Maureen Mason of Coldwell Banker Del Monte Realty at 622-2565.